Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rhubarb and strawberries and cherries oh my

My second-year orchard is tiny and valiant.

My rhubarb plants, in the ground three years now, are finally ready to provide me a pie or two. Or even some rhubarb champagne. Left to ferment until it's alcoholic or consumed sweet with ice, it sounds delicious. It calls to mind my responsibility in our family as the keeper of my grandfather's massive oak wine press. In San Francisco and Calistoga he used to press grapes for sweet wine for my grandmother. She preferred it sweet, he did not. Making it thus was an act of love from a man whose love language was service long before love languages were named.

My strawberry plants are blooming but not yet fruiting. The plants themselves were gifts from my father's garden. I'm so glad to have them as he recently removed his amazing strawberry beds in favor of, I believe, more herbs. Grandchildren across the county are still crying over this choice. I guess the cousins will have to visit my little farm to taste Grandpa's berries... that is if the deer don't get them first.

Gardening is probably a love language all its own.

This afternoon for instance I really, really needed a time out. You know the kind I mean. After a full morning of school under the influence of spring fever and a full afternoon of flute lessons and fruitless bathing suit shopping with two pre-teens, one first-grader, a preschooler and a baby... followed by a walk that no one wanted to take and then a dinner that no one wanted to eat.... Let's just say toward the end of my day I wanted to some alone time in the garden.

I dug into the newly weeded raised beds with my bare hands. They were probably still a little too wet for planting but I would not be denied.

Little lettuces. Little spinach. Little happinesses all in a row.

This year I am satisfying both my instant gratification and my delayed gratification needs by planting six packs of starts surrounded by seeds and seedlings of my own planting. Brilliant, to my way of thinking. It's easier than labeling and faster than succession planting and, bonus, it's fun.

I returned to the house in time to love on the baby, the preschooler, the first-grader and the pre-teens before bed. Isn't that the best kind of time out, after all? The kind that re-sets one's attitude?

Today I'm grateful for my garden, for my orchard, for the weeds that overrun my flowerbeds and necessitate another mommy time out (or five) this week. I'm grateful for the legacy of gardening and for the love of plants.

What are you grateful for today? Is it garden-related?

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